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Painter Alex Katz: “Paul Gauguin was an amateur”

Painter Alex Katz: “Paul Gauguin was an amateur”

His wife, Ada, thought he should paint abstractly. She didn’t think much of his pictorials. But Alex Katz didn’t “convert.” “The first ten years as a painter were miserable,” he says. He destroyed more than a thousand paintings and never regretted it. Katz loves to paint large areas, “Pablo Picasso wouldn’t have done that,” the 95-year-old New Yorker is convinced.

Alex Katz: (turning to the photographer somewhat gloomy): You can take my picture, but I won’t stand up and stand for you. This gets on my nerves.

I hope you don’t mind interviewing me?

No no. It’s like psychotherapy, you only talk about yourself.

Well: in your most recent exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (Note: from October 2022 to March 2023) Did you attach particular importance to the fact that a picture of your mother from 1946 was also shown? Has it affected your work in this way?

Just like anything else. Basically, you have to deal with what’s going on around you. My mother was around me. She always told me, “Painting is very hard work. You’re going to have a hard life.” And she was right. My first ten years as a painter were miserable.

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